If you’re reading this blog post, you’re probably a busy person who doesn’t have time to think about dinner every single night. Maybe you’re a mom with kiddos at home who need your attention. Maybe you’re a college student trying to eat healthy, nutritious meals while spending most of your time studying. Or maybe you simply don’t want to think about dinner – you’re all about optimization and we love that!
No matter where you are in your life, anyone can benefit from a good freezer meal. They’re easy to make, fun to prep, and extremely convenient! I started making freezer meals when I was pregnant with my first baby and knew I wouldn’t have much time to cook – let alone think about going to the grocery store. I fell in love with the entire process from planning and prepping to actually heating up the meals and eating them. Plus, I found some favorite new recipes I wouldn’t have thought to try otherwise! When you want a healthy meal but you don’t have a lot of time, you’ll be so happy you took some time to make a bunch of freezer meals.
I usually like to have 5-10 meals stocked in my freezer at any given time so I can just grab one and throw it in the Crock Pot or Instant Pot when I’m in a rush. It gives you all the benefits of a home-cooked meal with the convenience of takeout – it truly is a win-win situation. If you’re intimidated by freezer meals but want to give them a try, you’ve come to the right place. This blog will outline all of our favorite tips and tricks for simple, straightforward freezer meals your entire family will rave about!
We’ve broken the tips up into three different sections: planning, preparation, and cooking.
While freezer meals are super convenient, they do take some planning. Here are a few of our favorite planning tips:
Explore Pinterest and Your Favorite Blogs
When it comes to freezer meal recipes, the possibilities are endless! You can find recipes for almost any type of food on Pinterest or your favorite cooking blog. Once you find a recipe you like, make sure to save it in a place where you can easily access it later.
We have hundreds of freezer meal recipes you might want to check out!
Create a Menu
Once you’ve compiled your recipes, it’s time to plan out a menu. To start, we’d recommend choosing five meals or less. This way, you won’t get overwhelmed during the preparation process!
Make Your Shopping Lists
After you’ve planned out your menu, it’s time to make a grocery list. This will help you avoid making multiple store trips and save you money in the long run. Pro tip: if you want to make things even easier on yourself, shop online and do grocery pickup! Walmart and Target have great free grocery pickup systems. Grocery pickup is a great way to save money and time.
Want us to send you 8 of your favorite freezer meal recipes AND a shopping list to make them? Click here and we will email it all to you for free!
Plan Your Prep Day
You won’t want to put your freezer meals together on a day when you have tons of responsibilities and places to be. Choose a time when your kids are out of the house or napping, you don’t have a lot of distractions, and you can focus all your attention on your freezer meal prep.
Now that you’ve planned out your menu and you have all the food, it’s time to start prepping everything!
Clean Your Space
To start, you’ll want to clear some counter space and make sure your kitchen is clean. This way, you can focus on prepping without worrying about dishes in the sink or messes on the counter.
Organize Your Groceries
Once your counters are clear, you’ll want to organize your groceries into meals. You’ll probably use the same ingredients for some recipes, so just do your best here. Having everything somewhat organized will help improve efficiency and make the process much smoother!
Cut All Your Vegetables
Turn on your favorite music, podcast, audiobook, or movie because this is going to take some time! You’ll want to cut up all your veggies at once so you can assemble the freezer bags more easily when the time comes.
Assemble the Meals
After you’ve chopped all your veggies, it’s time to start assembling your meals! This is probably the most time-consuming part of the entire process, but it’ll be so worth it when you have delicious freezer meals ready to eat. Again, turn on a podcast, audiobook, music, or movie to keep you company.
Use Heavy Duty Bags
The last thing you want is a leaky bag of food in your freezer. Avoid this by using heavy-duty freezer bags or containers that will seal tightly and prevent leaks. A gallon-sized freezer bag should do the trick.
Get All the Air Out of Your Bags
This step is crucial! Make sure you let the air out of your bags before you put them in the freezer. This will save space and help your meals last longer, plus it will help prevent freezer burn.
Cook Your Meat Beforehand
If you’re using a lot of meat in your freezer meals, cooking it beforehand will save you so much time and so many headaches. Whether you’re cooking with ground beef, pulled pork, shredded chicken, or any other type of meat, pre-cooking it is the best way to go. Just throw it in the bag with the rest of the ingredients when assembling your meals!
Refrigerate Before Freezing
If any of the food you just assembled in your freezer bag is still warm or hot, you’ll want to cool it down in your fridge before you put it in the freezer.
Don’t Put Cold Glass Containers in the Oven
If you choose to prep your meals in glass containers, don’t put them directly in the oven while they’re still cold. They should be room temperature, otherwise they could shatter in your oven.
Now that your prep is all done, it’s time to cook those freezer meals and eat them! All your hard work is finally paying off.
Thawing and Cooking
You can cook your freezer meals in the slow cooker, Instant Pot, or oven – you’ll get great results regardless of how you choose to cook them. If you need to thaw out your freezer meal before putting it in the Instant Pot or oven, run the bag under warm water until it thaws out.
Eat Them Within Three Months
The sooner you eat your freezer meals, the better! They’ll last in the freezer longer, but they will usually taste better if you eat them within three months of making them.
Don’t Try to Re-Freeze Meals
When you re-freeze meals, you run the risk of foodborne illness. If you thaw out one of your freezer meals, you’ll want to cook and eat it that same day. If you really don’t want to eat it that day, you can put it in your fridge and save it to eat within the next day or two.
Making freezer meals can be a lot of work, but it’s so worth it! These tips will help you make delicious and healthy freezer meals that your whole family will love. With a little planning and prep work, you’ll be on your way to enjoying stress-free dinners in no time. If you have any freezer meal questions, feel free to reach out! And click here for our favorite freezer-friendly recipes.
If you are ready to get started making your own freezer meals, you might want to check out our mini Freezer Meal course! It’s everything that you need to get going and make your own delicious freezer meals.
Looking for more freezer meals?